Special Issue "Local Government Responses to Catalyse Sustainable Urban Development"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Urban and Rural Development".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 July 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Christopher N.H. Doll
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Geography & Geology, Kingston University London, Kingston, UK
Interests: urban sustainability; climate change mitigation; urban health; co-benefits; systems thinking
Dr. Alexandros Gasparatos
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Integrated Research System for Sustainability Science (IR3S), University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
Interests: ecosystem services; sustainability assessment; food security; urban metabolism; green economy; biodiversity

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

There has been a proliferation of strategies and initiatives to catalyze sustainability transitions. While many of these efforts are planned and negotiated at the national or international level, most are, in fact, implemented at the city level. Local governments are increasingly being asked, or indeed are taking the lead, to develop solutions, which tackle important sustainability issues ranging from climate change mitigation and adaptation to pollution, ecosystem degradation, health and well-being, social justice, sustainable consumption and production as well as broader economic development. The confined nature of urban living facilitates the identification of co-benefits and trade-offs in policymaking and, in this sense, cities can be seen as laboratories of how to develop sustainable societies. The recent adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, and particularly SDG11 to “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable” further highlights the critical role that local government has to play in achieving a more sustainable future.

The aim of this Special Issue is to explore how local governments across different geographies plan and implement interventions as a response to pressing sustainability challenges. This may include case studies with examples from individual cities or comparative analyses across cities on a specific sustainability issue. Papers should include a critical analysis of the outcomes of these responses from local governments. Conceptual works on the role of local government across broader sustainability issues may also be considered.

Papers that do not contain a strong element on local government responses to sustainability issues or challenges will not be considered.

Dr. Christopher N.H. Doll
Dr. Alexandros Gasparatos
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1700 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • local government
  • urban sustainability
  • cities
  • co-benefits
  • sustainability strategy and action plans

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Sustainability Transitions in the Municipal Solid Waste Management Systems of Bolivian Cities: Evidence from La Paz and Santa Cruz de la Sierra
Sustainability 2019, 11(17), 4582; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11174582 - 23 Aug 2019
Abstract
Municipal solid waste management (MWSM) systems have been evolving across most of the developing world. However, despite decades of refinement, they are still underperforming in many cities, leading to negative sustainability impacts in rapidly urbanizing cities of the global South. Despite similarities in [...] Read more.
Municipal solid waste management (MWSM) systems have been evolving across most of the developing world. However, despite decades of refinement, they are still underperforming in many cities, leading to negative sustainability impacts in rapidly urbanizing cities of the global South. Despite similarities in the observed transitions between developed and developing countries, there are important differences in their characteristics and underlying drivers. This study aims to unravel the sustainability transitions of the MSWM systems in the two major cities of Bolivia, La Paz and Santa Cruz de la Sierra, illustrating the role of various actors, and specifically local governments. This is achieved through the analysis of secondary data and expert interviews with stakeholders involved in different aspects of the MSWM system at the national and local level. We identify three partially overlapping sustainability transitions in the two cities, namely “Collection and centralized disposal”, “Environmentally controlled disposal”, and “Integrated solid waste management”. However, timelines, speed and elements of these transitions are somewhat different between cities, largely due to their inherent characteristics, institutions and stakeholder dynamics. Many technological, socioeconomic, and institutional factors converge to facilitate and hinder these transitions, including interactions of government and private sector actors, and the country’s broader political context. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Local Government Responses to Catalyse Sustainable Urban Development)
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Open AccessArticle
Eco-Efficiency Assessment of Japanese Municipalities Based on Environmental Impacts and Gross Regional Product
Sustainability 2019, 11(15), 4045; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11154045 - 26 Jul 2019
Abstract
Governments at different levels need to appreciate the environmental impacts of socioeconomic activities within their boundaries. They also need to decide relevant environmental policies after carefully examining future pathways based on the relationship between the environment and the economy. This study focuses on [...] Read more.
Governments at different levels need to appreciate the environmental impacts of socioeconomic activities within their boundaries. They also need to decide relevant environmental policies after carefully examining future pathways based on the relationship between the environment and the economy. This study focuses on Japanese basic administrative divisions (i.e., municipalities) and attempts to quantify the annual environmental efficiency of processes and socioeconomic activities within each of these divisions using life-cycle impact assessment (LCIA) concepts. A key element of the LCIA is the integration of different environmental loads across various impact categories, such as global warming, air pollution, and land use, and their representation through a simple indicator. First, we conduct annual environmental impact assessments for all Japanese municipalities based on reliable, verifiable, and comparable statistical information. Next, we estimate the environmental efficiency of socioeconomic activities within each division by dividing the gross regional product (GRP) with the environmental damage amounts calculated through LIME2, an LCIA-based tool tailored for Japan. Assessment results for each municipality are visualized on maps of Japan in order to highlight the spatial distribution of the values for each indicator. The findings of this study can aid local, regional, and national governments in Japan to inform environmental policy design and decision-making at different spatial levels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Local Government Responses to Catalyse Sustainable Urban Development)
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Open AccessArticle
Perceptions of Priority Policy Areas and Interventions for Urban Sustainability in Polish Municipalities: Can Polish Cities Become Smart, Inclusive and Green?
Sustainability 2019, 11(14), 3962; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11143962 - 21 Jul 2019
Abstract
The transition to sustainable urban development requires both appropriate city management and local authorities that are aware of the implications posed by new urban sustainability challenges. The article aims to identify the priority policy/practice areas and interventions to solve sustainability challenges in Polish [...] Read more.
The transition to sustainable urban development requires both appropriate city management and local authorities that are aware of the implications posed by new urban sustainability challenges. The article aims to identify the priority policy/practice areas and interventions to solve sustainability challenges in Polish municipalities, as well as the factors that differentiate these priorities. Through an online questionnaire we surveyed 460 Polish municipalities, and conducted a multidimensional assessment concerning how mayors (and their executive teams) prioritise possible policy/practice areas and interventions related to sustainability. Our analysis implies that the mayors (and their executive teams) assign higher priority to policy/practice areas and interventions related to economic and social domains, and slightly lower priority to environmental ones. However, an important finding is that the priority policy/practice areas and interventions do not correspond well to some of the contemporary sustainability challenges in Polish cities. Effectively tackling urban environmental, economic and social problems would require the implementation of new approaches related to smart cities, the circular economy and/or cultural diversity. However, these less traditional policy/practice areas and interventions are quite low on the priority list of Polish mayors and their executive teams. Interestingly mayors and executive teams that prefer more participatory and solidarity-based management approaches are more likely to prioritise less traditional policy/practice areas and interventions to solve urban sustainability challenges in their municipalities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Local Government Responses to Catalyse Sustainable Urban Development)
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Open AccessArticle
How Does Paired Assistance to Disaster-Affected Areas (PADAA) Contribute to Economic Sustainability? A Qualitative Analysis of Wenchuan County
Sustainability 2019, 11(14), 3915; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11143915 - 18 Jul 2019
Abstract
There is a high risk of an economic downturn after the end of reconstruction efforts following natural hazards. High levels of external assistance can sometimes weaken local autonomy and self-sufficiency, creating the pre-conditions for a “forgotten phase”. However, through the three-year Paired Assistance [...] Read more.
There is a high risk of an economic downturn after the end of reconstruction efforts following natural hazards. High levels of external assistance can sometimes weaken local autonomy and self-sufficiency, creating the pre-conditions for a “forgotten phase”. However, through the three-year Paired Assistance to Disaster-Affected Areas project (PADAA), the economy of Wenchuan County in China recovered to its pre-earthquake levels within two years and has shown clear signs of economic sustainability. Through a qualitative research approach based on the analysis of expert interviews, secondary data, and relevant documentation, this study discusses the phases of the reconstruction process following the Wenchuan earthquake, and the factors behind the success of the PADAA process in enabling economic sustainability. Some of the identified factors include: (1) the reshaping of local livelihoods and economic structure through a large number of investments in public infrastructure; (2) knowledge acquisition, self-adjustment, and the ability to meet the needs of a new economy and social development through institutional reform and openness; (3) increasing amounts of attracted investments and the development of sustainable industrial structures through the improvement of the local government’s economic governance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Local Government Responses to Catalyse Sustainable Urban Development)
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